Tag Archives: family pet

Ode to Kitty – a #poem


I need a little break from Brené at the moment. That post earlier today kicked my ass.

My cat is a wanderer. Of fifty feet. My neighbors have an unfortunate habit of letting him “sneak in” because he’s just so adorable.

He’s our cat. He was there a week this time. She swears they’re not feeding him and I believe her, but someone is because the feeling I get from the face he gives me when I now >plink! plink! plink!< the kibble into his little metal bowl is:

"no you didn't."  (c) farm4.staticflickr.com

“no you didn’t.” he says when the kibble drops. “o yes i did,” i say as i drop one more.
(c) farm4.staticflickr.com

So he leaves. And goes straight to my neighbor’s front door. They are lovely people. They used to have a cat and dog, so they’re pet friendly. They also swear they’re not feeding him. But a week goes by and he ain’t eatin’ here (see pic above to assure you), and he looks:

like this.

like this.

I’m sorry, that wasn’t any good…



Wait, this… 



Gak! no, this…

there. there's the money shot.

yikes. where’s the football? there’s the money shot. just really bad lighting. but imagine it’s good lighting.

I don’t blame him. His sister is mean to him; she growls and hisses at him. He’s very mellow, she’s a bit uptight.

Murphy tries to mount him or put him in his mouth from time to time, “I dunno, Ma, is he a sex toy or a food?” he queries.

The kids are loud here and when he goes over there, it’s like a spa. Candles are glowing, the hum of the fridge is the only sound, maybe a ticking clock in the distant background…

Shit, maybe I should go over there. So instead of going to yoga today, I wrote a poem.

So I present unto you this (and I can’t stop thinking in verse now):


ode to kitty:

dear prodigal kitty with your eyes green and pretty
you’d been missing a week, it was hard.

upon a neighbor’s couch microfiber
you fancied yourself suburban tiger
while the boy who adores
fear’d you’d gone very far.

it’s not your fault that you wandered
it’s the rules you had squandered
when the call of wet food and low noise cast their allure

your sister did not miss you,
she threw no mauls nor she hiss’d you
but we blame our daft neighbors, we endure

for it was their move to keep you
safe and warm and “not feed” you
which we believed not a beat when t’was uttered

what did you dine on?
while your boys they did pine on
was your kibble so moist and well buttered?

. . .

“i don’t want a new pet; can do without hassle”
she said as Dad swept you away, flying dutch
“then why days if no hassle, yet over here! in your castle?”
he asked with your big bod in his clutch

she urged protestations
continued on manifestations
of neither her blame
her account, nor respons’bil’ity

his response: “ ’tis the rules of the ‘hood
neither bad, neither good
t’which we adhere and that keep civility:

do not take in other’s kitties
not on farms, burgs or cities
when their home is scant paw-steps away”

of it he regaled as he walked in our door,
“t’was nothing real, it all, just a bore
she cried ’twas not my touch! do not blame me for such!’
gah! ears tire for she protested too much.”

stay home here big gray kitty
do not go in that door
which she widely holds open and claims you sneak in
we all know far better,
it’s their food that is wetter
which you eat far too much to be thin.

he loves it when we hold him. see? he just sinks right in.

he loves it when we hold him. see? he just sinks right in.

thank you.

Walk of Shame


I’d been up since 4:36 today. Despite the predicament of not knowing his whereabouts, I was in a cheerful mood.

The sun was barely up; the rosy-hued morning just cresting the bare trees. It’s a cold dawn in late November, the temps were down to the teens last night.

The boys see him first, “There he is, Mom.”

“He looks so smug, all slow and casual…” my oldest son says, a little sad that this is what’s become of our family.

My stomach churned inside itself as though a baker were kneading it to make a gut dough. I didn’t want the children to be exposed to this: his blatant flouting of the family trust, his perpetual shenanigans so close to the holidays. There was no avoiding it I s’pose. I was done lying to myself and covering up for him after all our years together.

“Do we let him in? I’m so confused by it all. Why doesn’t he stay with us? Doesn’t he love us?” asked my middle son.

“Let him in, but keep him in the hallway, I can tell by a sniff of his neck where he’s been and who’s been keeping him away and I want to look into his eyes. I want to watch him try to hide from me what and who he’s been seeing and who’s been making him so comfortable. Don’t tell your baby brother; he’ll be devastated. He just made Gingerbread cookies yesterday hoping to eat them with him nearby,” I said as I was packing lunches and pulling hats and gloves from the storage container in the closet.

“He’s not cold, that’s for sure. Not like he’s been out all night; nope. Someone kept him nice and warm…” said one of the boys.

He looked away; he couldn’t be bothered with any of us, really.

“Love? Did one of you ask about ‘love‘? He doesn’t love anything but himself. He never has. He’s like a robot — I just make a nice home for him, feed him, try to hold him — but he won’t let me, he wiggles out of my arms any chance he gets. He’s always looking over my shoulder for the next sucker. It really gnaws at your sense of family and place in the world,” I answered as I looked at him.

He heard everything I said. He looked right at me. His eyes laser clear, deep and green. It looked like he hadn’t shaved in weeks, his face was beautiful though, just gorgeous — it was the face I fell for so long ago. But I knew instantly when he slowly closed his eyes and turned his head that he was no longer interested in having this conversation. When our dog greeted him he showed complete indifference; he almost growled at him.

who could walk away from this guy?

who could walk away from this guy?

“Don’t you dare do that to Murphy! He worries himself sick about you! Sure, he eats what you leave behind, and he will gladly take your sleeping spot when you’re not here, but that’s because he knows I’m confused and sad that you’re with her. Don’t look at me like that….” I said.

What did he ever do for me? Oh sure, a slow meaningful glance now and then or a stroke of my leg, but I wasn’t appreciated. He treated me like staff.  I close in on him, sniff his collarbone and his shoulders. He turns his head, gives me the jaw, so to speak. I move to meet his face. We were an inch apart, our breaths heat one another, eyes lock.

I melt.

“You know we raked 30 bags of leaves this weekend — withOUT you?!? You walked right by them on your way into the housssse,” I hiss as I push him away.

he didn't help. never does.

he didn’t help. never does.

“I can smell her on you. Her perfume, fresh jasmine and essential oil-infused coconut balm that she makes and uses on her hands; she gave me some you know after we carved that pumpkin for her, it’s great stuff, I’ve started using on my face, I don’t break out … ugh! But you don’t care! Look at me!! Loooooook at meeeeeee you sonnabeech! Don’t you care about us?! WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT?! I called and called … you NEVER answer!”

Why do I bother?

Cold hearted, he is. I turn back to him, lock his shoulders in my hands but he wriggles himself free of my desperate grasp. I stand there, enraged at the insult. The boys are engrossed and ashamed at the same time.

My older son looks outside, then at the clock. “Mom, we can’t … the bus will be at the stop soon. C’mon, D. I can’t really start my day, my week with this stuff. This is between them. This isn’t for kids: we are not to blame,” he said, tugging on his younger brother’s backpack.

“That’s right, boys. This isn’t your problem. I appreciate you holding him back though. I didn’t want him to get one step further into the house without inspecting him. Have a good day. Try to forget about this. It’s none of your fault. It never was. It’s between me and him,” I said, glaring at him.

He walks away from me, coughing. Sometimes he can’t get away from me fast enough.

my brother drew this.

my brother drew this.

“Well, you sure haven’t been missing any meals!” I can’t help myself. My rage has kicked into full gear; I’m blind. I’m sure the boys can hear me with the door closed, screaming at him, crying, asking him to stay with us, to live with us, to stop going to her, them, for days on end without a trace of him.

“Did you know I asked her about you? She looked right at me and said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve seen ‘im since Saturday…’ It being WEDNESDAY…” he says nothing, just stares into the distance.

By now we’ve moved to the kitchen, just beneath my youngest son’s bedroom. I start in again. He gazes out the back door into the frigid morning, the sun is higher but it’s still dark.

“Sure. Just keep doing what you do… keep coming and going… at your whim. Meanwhile, three boys, a dog and I are here wondering if you’re safe, or if you’ve been picked up… will I get the call from the holding cells?, ‘Mrs. Field… we have him … again…'”

“You disgust me. I have to wake my son for school. Don’t bother joining me. If he asks me if you came home, I’ll tell him you’re here and that you’re happy to hear his questions…”

He slinked into the living room and sat in his special chair. He said nothing. He doesn’t engage me in these fights. He doesn’t care.



It’s not me, it’s him I’ve decided. I give up. He stays out all night. Doesn’t come home for days. The boys wonder where he is. I ask people we know if they’ve seen him — some have and some haven’t. But this morning… that walk of shame… I know where he’s been.

“Just let it go, Mol,” my husband said. “He’s a dick.”

“That’s right… he is a dick…” I agree.

Thank you.

The Places I Go and Then Have to Leave – By Murphy


Today we have a guest blogger at the behest of Thing 3 who’s toddler nickname in the playroom used to be called “Osama bin Dumper, Toyorist.” So, he’s in charge for the moment. Please indulge…


I am the family god. I mean, dog. I am the family dog. I am having the 8-year-old, the smallest boy, write this for me. 

I am four. I have four feet. They are webbed. They help me swim. When the lady says I can. She takes me to small lakes when the weather is good. My tail helps me steer.

I am a golden retriever. I do not retrieve gold. If they threw gold for me to get, I could not pick it up in my mouth. It would be too heavy. I would not give it to them. I would give it to the smallest boy, for helping me tell my story.

The lady calls me a “crotch torpedo.” What does that mean? 

This is a story about the places I try to go to. I am often told to go away from them. 

Here are some pictures of me: 

This is me when I was a baby. Aren’t I cute? 

This is me when I was first brought home to be with these people. That boy is the smallest one. We stick together. He is 8 now. 

This is me when I was running for President of the United States. I withdrew my name from consideration for personal reasons. Again, I ask: what is a “crotch torpedo”?

This is me and my favorite toy. The lady who works for my best friend gave it to me. 

Today when I was walking around the dressers, the side of the bed, the side of the refrigerator, the side of the couch, the side of the wall, the seats of the chairs, the third step, I was tasting the the toilet water with my tongue. It’s right at my nose. The lady shouted, “LEAVE IT.” So I left it. I have a bowl but I like the toilet.

The boys left their morning dishes on the table. I like toast. My tongue is long enough to reach it and I can leave my feet on the ground. That way I am not table surfing. What does that mean? I reached for the toast and the man saw me and he said, “Ah-Ah-Ah, Murphy. DROP IT.” 

And I dropped it. It tasted good. I wish I ate it. I stared at it a long time. Looking at the toast. It was right there. I wish I had it. I wanted to say “Ah-Ah-Ah, Man. GO AWAY.”

I love to go on walks with the lady and the boys. I love to chase geese. They are fat and stupid, but they swim fast. The lady says I can chase geese but no ducks. I am not allowed to chase squirrels when I am on the leash. 

This is me when I found a bag of flour in the basement. I was not a year old then. The people kept on calling me “scar face.” I do not have scars. 

This is a close-up of me when I got into the flour. I packed some in my cheeks so I could have it later. I was very sorry.

I wanted to go inside the shed today when it started to rain. But I had to get out because the lady shouted, “OUT,  MURPHY.” So I backed out. Have you ever seen a big dog try to turn around in a small shed door on a ramp in the rain? It is hard to do. I do not care if I have the prettiest feathers (do dogs have feathers? I can not fly) in the whole wide world as the lady says, it is hard to back out of a shed in the rain. 

The rain drops get in my face and my eyebrows do not help me. Sometimes the lady makes me do a trick to come in. She taught me how to whisper a “password” to get in. When it is cold or rainy, I have a password: “MOVE.” But I do not know how to whisper “MOVE.” So I give the password and go in. 

Yesterday, I was sniffing plants with my feet and I also sniffed the plant food (bone powder) with my mouth that the man put on the ground around some bushes. Again, the lady yelled at me, this time saying  “OFF MURPHY. OFF.” So I stopped.  

I like to sleep between the bed and a wall when the lady works on her desk. I sleep in the bedroom closet at night. I like small spaces. They make me feel safe. I do not like fireworks or thunder. 

I have a ball in the grass. I like it when the people throw the ball. I go get it and run around the grass and trees and make them follow me. They do that for a little time until they stop and yell, “DROP IT, MURPHY” to me. So I drop it. We do it again.

On Sunday, the man and the lady stood and used sticks in a small area that they later put wire fence around. It was like a pool of dirt. It looked perfect for me. I saw them bring in more and more dirt they dumped in the area.  It smelled good. The boys said it smelled like a farm. I like a farm if a farm smells like that! The bags said M-A-N-U-R-E on them. I don’t know who he is, Man Ure, but I like his smell. And that fence! The fence was to keep the people out.

Then they put in plants the lady bought. Something with small shiny leaves that smelled like chicken wings, another plant with heart-shaped grayish leaves (everything is gray to me) that smelled like rotten plants and another one with hairy leaves and tiny flowers on it; when I pushed my face into that hairy one, I smelled sour plants. I did not care about plants. I wanted to get into the pool. 

They left the fence open when they went to eat. 

I went in and made paw prints all over the dirt that smelled good. I was about to make water on the plants and dive into the dirt pool, but the lady shouted to the tallest boy, “Hey, get Murphy out of there! He’ll ruin everything!”

The tallest boy said, “C’mon, Murph. No. OUT!” and I stopped what I was doing and I had to get out. Maybe the dirt pool wasn’t ready. 

Then they closed the fence. I can not go in the dirt pool anymore. 

Today, a day early, the tutor came over to sit with the tallest boy. He “blew it royally” on a math test. Is it not good to blow it royally?  I love the tutor. She pets my ears the whole time I am in the room with her when she is sitting with the tallest boy. 

The lady said “COME, MURPHY.” And I left the tutor. The lady gave me a treat for that. It was good. It is time for me to go now. They are looking for the smallest boy. We are buddies.

I dedicate this to my cousin Cate. She understands me.

Good bye.